Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor Emeritus of Anthropology
California State University, Chico / Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office: Butte 202]; 530-898-6192 [Department: Butte 311]; 530-898-6143 [FAX]
e-mail: / home page:

[This page printed from] [1]

1 September 2005

(1) © [All Rights Reserved.] Placed on the World Wide Web on 1 September 2005, for a presentation (with visuals) at the Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, on September 1, 2005. My thanks to Ms. Debra Besnard and Mr. Stan Griffith and their "Digital Asset Management Project" in the Meriam Library at CSU, Chico and the work they did which allowed me to incorporate some historical visuals into the PowerPoint presentation this day. Please remember that "today" it is Thursday September 1, 2005, in the United States of America but across the Pacific Ocean and the International Dateline "today" is "tomorrow" and it is September 2, 2005: the 60th anniversary of the signing of the instrument of surrender on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, which meant that World War II Ends!




I was a "Destination Lecturer" on the Pacific Princess in May and June of 2005 as we cruised through selected World War II islands of the Pacific Theatre of Operations. On September 2, 1945, in Tokyo Bay, Japan, Japanese officials signed the instrument of surrender on the United States Battleship Missouri and United States President Harry S Truman (1884-1972) declared September 2 to be V-J Day. The war in Europe had ended on May 5, 1945 with V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) being celebrated on May 8, 1945.  



"We dedicate this book to all those who died in the Pacific War on both sides of the ocean and to all historians who seek the truth." Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon [Editors], 1993, The Pearl Harbor Papers: Inside the Japanese Plans (Dulles, CA: Brassey's), page x. 

In May and June of 2005 I was a lecturer on Pacific Princess cruise K515 (Islands of the Pacific Theater). I was one of several content experts that Princess Cruise Line provides for their passengers in their "Scholarship@Sea Program" and for this particular cruise we were at sea for 25 days. Departing Honolulu on Sunday May 29, we cruised through Micronesia and Melanesia en route to Nagasaki, Japan (please see Figure #1 below). My wife Sadie and I left the ship in Xingang, China, as did many other passengers. As an anthropologist who did his fieldwork in the Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga in 1970 and 1971, I have always had an abiding interest in World War II and the impact on the people of the Pacific. At an Anthropology Forum in 1991 I made a presentation entitled Prelude to Pearl Harbor: Operation Hawai'i, dealing with the process and events that led up to December 7, 1941. The chance to provide lectures to interested individuals and for me to learn more, as we cruised through some of the major battle areas of the Pacific, was too good to pass up. Midway, the Marshall Islands, Guadalcanal, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa all evoke memories for surviving Pacific veterans and family members. A published refrain, but one that was heard on board (and there were many military veterans on the cruise) was "This was many years ago, but it seems like yesterday."(William W. Donner, "Far Away and "Close Up: World War II and Sikiana Perceptions of Their Place in the World." In Geoffrey M. White and Lamont Lindstrom, 1989, The Pacific Theater: Island Representations of World War II (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press), pages 149-163, page 163.)

The Pacific Princess carried approximately 650 passengers and we estimated that close to 100 individuals were veterans of World War II or spouses of veterans. Most were veterans from the Pacific Theater of Operations but some veterans in the European Theatre of Operations during World War II. A map of the itinerary was prepared and distributed at my first lecture on June 1. I also distributed a list of selected historical dates coinciding with the calendar dates of the cruise, from May 29 through June 24, 2005. Incidentally, for twenty days (through December 2004 and January 2005) I was a "Destination Lecturer" in the same "Scholarship@Sea Program" of Princess Cruise Lines on the Tahitian Princess as we cruised through numerous islands of French Polynesia (as well as the independent Cook Islands). That was a most enjoyable and rewarding experience and I decided to provide similar lectures on the Pacific Princess. (Incidentally, on April 26, 2006, the Pacific Princess will begin the K612 cruise, a 21-day "Islands of the Pacific Theater: Sydney to Osaka" journey. The cruise will stop at Brisbane, Guadalcanal, Raubaul, Chuuk (once known as Truk), Guam, Saipan, cruise by Iwo Jima, and stop at Okinawa and Hiroshima. The cruise terminates in Osaka.)

Two other lecturers on the Pacific Princess cruise from Honolulu to China were extremely interesting: one was Anderson Giles, a Professor of Art at the University of Maine, Preque Isle, and Admiral Edwin Wilson (Retired). Andy has been interested in World War II events in the Pacific for decades and made a film in 1996 entitled The Thunder From Tinian. Admiral Wilson was a young pilot in the Pacific during World War II and he celebrated his 87th birthday on June 8th on the Pacific Princess cruise. Admiral Wilson spoke of his days as a young warrior and I learned and listened to my two fellow lecturers and thought about the war and how it came to be and how it eventually ended. The end of World War II in the Pacific did not take place immediately on September 2, 1945: in May 2005 an article appeared in newspapers reporting that two Japanese soldiers might still be alive and hiding in the Philippine Islands! World War II was long and horrific!

On September 2, 1945, on the United States battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, American General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964), the Supreme Commander for all the Allied Forces in the Pacific, signed the instrument of surrender as the representative for the following nations: Australia, Canada, China, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, and the United States. At that same ceremony, the United States Fleet Admiral, Chester W. Nimitz (1885-1966), accepted the formal surrender of Japan on behalf of the United States of America. The War in the Pacific had ended. It has been calculated that there were 1,364 days between the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan) and the instrument of surrender signing on September 2, 1945. Over those 1,364 days, 902,596 Imperial Japanese Army and Navy personnel were killed: Japanese military personnel died at the rate of 662 per day! It is reported that 105,563 American military personnel were killed over the same period of time: individuals from the United States Army, Navy (and Marine Corps) died at the rate of 77 per day in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. The only word which truly describes the War in the Pacific is horrific. The agony, pain, and suffering on all sides (by military personnel and civilians at their home locations) was tremendous and the repercussions are still being felt to this day! (See Anne Sharp Wells, 1999, Historical Dictionary of World War II: The War Against Japan [Lanham, MD & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.], Appendix 2: pages 309-316.)



"To the overwhelming majority of Europeans the term the Second World War immediately conjures up memories or impressions of the conflict against Hitler's Germany. Perceptions of this war vary greatly from nation to nation.... That Europeans should be Eurocentric in their view of events is natural." H. P. Willmott, 1982, Empires in the Balance: Japanese and Allied Pacific Strategies to April 1942 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Insitute Press), page 1.

In order to understand the War in the Pacific, from my perspective, one must go back to 19th Century Japan and the year 1868: that is when the young Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) under the influence of various warlords, relocated his capital from Kyoto to Tokyo and began the "modernization" of Japan. In the Pacific Ocean, the Kingdom of the Ryukus (350 miles south of Japan) was abolished by Emperor Meiji in 1872 and in 1879 the Ryukus (perhaps most famous in World War II for the location of the island of Okinawa) was established as a Japanese Prefecture, governed from Tokyo. In 1894-1895 part of the Chinese Navy had been defeated by the Japanese and China sought peace, signing a treaty with Japan on April 17, 1895. Over the years 1904-1905, Japan defeated Russia, a "European" power, on land and on the sea. The Treaty of Portsmouth, New Hampshire (USA) between Japan and Russia was signed on September 5, 1905 and Japan received the southern half of Sakhalin Island, as well as territory on the Asian mainland. Japan was being viewed as a major power in the world and was in need of land and natural resources for its growing population. The 1905 Peace Treaty was negotiated by the American President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and Roosevelt eventually received the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for that effort. It must be pointed out that when the terms of the treaty were made public in Japan not everyone was happy about it: "there was an immediate outburst of popular indignation" as a result of the American involvement (Richard Story, 1960, A History of Modern Japan, page 142). Perhaps the Japan-Russian war of 1904-1905 gave an indication of not only World War I, which would begin to engulf Europe in 1914, but it also gave an indication of World War II in the Pacific. In 1904 Russian-controlled Port Arthur, in China, was besieged by the Japanese for five months and when it was surrendered to the Japanese on December 31, 1904, it was estimated that almost 58,000 Japanese had lost their lives and 28,000 Russians had died. That war began on February 9, 1904, when the Japanese made a surprise attack on the Russian fleet at Port Arthur and some have suggested that this attack gave inspiration to the "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

"The ultimate effect of this [1904] surprise attack before the declaration of war was well-appreciated by subsequent generations of Japanese staff officers. In this sense Port Arthur can be regarded as a dress rehearsal for Pearl Harbor." John N. Westwood, 1973, The Illustrated History of the Russo-Japanese War (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company), page 19.

In her fascinating 1958 book entitled The Zimmerman Telegram, dealing with the entrance of the United States of America into World War I, Barbara Tuchman writes of an event which occurred in 1908:

"...the American Minister in Guatemala advised Washington of a rumor that Japan, by secret treaty, had acquired lease of a naval base at Magdalena Bay, the largest and most secure of Mexico's Pacific Coast, the same place that the [German] Kaiser once coveted. Washington's worried queries were met by official denials, but the reports persisted over the next years, usually accompanied by the story of disguised Japanese soldiers...ready to swarm across the Rio Grande, or, alternatively, seize the Panama Canal [stress added]." Barbara Tuchman, 1958, The Zimmerman Telegram (NY: The MacMillan Company), page 34.

Tuchman added that although there is no archival evidence that the treaty between Japan and Mexico ever existed, in 1908 "Japan was making common cause with the Mexicans, who had not forgiven the loss of Texas" after the United States had a war with Mexico in the 19th Century (Barbara Tuchman, 1958, The Zimmerman Telegram [NY: The MacMillan Company], page 34).

When World War I began on the European continent in 1914 Japan, as an ally of Great Britain, was given the German territories in the Pacific in what is called (by non-islanders) Micronesia. In October 1914 the islands of Jaluit, Kusaie, Ponape, Truk, Yap, Palau, and Saipan were placed under the control of the Japanese (please see Figure #2 below). When war with the United States of America appeared imminent, the Japanese began to fortify these islands and many of these islands were locations of horrific World War II battles. At the conclusion of World War I (1914-1918), Japan continued its modernization and plans for expansion and development into a formidable world power. Just as 19th Century Europeans and Americans saw tremendous opportunities in China, so did the Japanese. After World War I Japan was definitely part of the world-wide economy and there was a need for land and oil.

Although many Americans may date the beginning of World War II with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Europeans see the beginning of the Second World War on September 1, 1939, with German aggression against Poland. Individuals in Asia, on the other hand, view World War II as beginning on September 18, 1931, when the Kwantung Army, a unit of the Imperial Japanese Army, seized the city of Mukden, Manchuria. On February 18, 1932, Manchuria (consisting of three provinces in Northeast China) ceased to exist when the Japanese established the "independent" Republic of Manchukuo in its place. The Chinese complained to the League of Nations but the Japanese refused to withdraw their forces from Manchukuo and, instead, withdrew from the League of Nations!

The powers of the world were gradually moving towards a war in the Pacific and my opinion, a major mistake of the Japanese aggressors in the Pacific Theatre of Operations was their inability to grasp the immense nature of the Pacific Ocean, one-third of planet Earth. (The Pacific Ocean is some 64,186,300 square miles, compared to 33,420,000 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, and 28,350,500 square miles in the Indian Ocean.) It was difficult, if not impossible, for various Imperial Japanese forces to lend mutual support to one another. The Japanese forces in the Pacific also suffered from a long-standing, and bitter, rivalry that existed between the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Combined Fleet. This rivalry contributed to major problems in strategy and tactics throughout the war in the Pacific. The war in the Pacific Theatre of Operations was a totally different war than was fought in Europe and the various environments of the Pacific were truly different from the European Theatre of Operations. One can analyze warfare in the Pacific Theater of Operations as encompassing the following variables on air, sea, and land battles (described by Sir Winston Churchill [1874-1965], as triphibious): AIR (carrier planes as well as land-based planes, including bombers and fighter planes), SEA (submarines, surface ships, and aircraft carrier planes), and LAND (large islands as well as small islands, including continental, volcanic, and coral islands). In considering the war waged by all nations, one must also keep in mind the following "M" variables: the Allied powers that fought Japan (and Germany) clearly had an advantage when it came to men (meaning women and men), materials, and money. The population of the United States of America in 1940 was 132,164,569 whereas the Japanese Empire had a population of 97,697,555. Numbers, and eventually science and technology, were on the side of the United States of America.



"The Pacific War began with the invasion of China in 1931. Widely condemned by the League of Nations and many other countries as a violation of the Kellog-Brand Non-Aggression Pact and the Nine Power Treaty on China, the attack made Japan more isolated and desperate and ultimately led to war with America and England [stress added]." Saburo Ienaga, 1968 [1978 translation], The Pacific War, 1931-1945: A Critical Perspective on Japan's Role in World War II (NY: Random House), page 3.

The United States of America was attacked by forces of the nation of Japan on December 7, 1941 (December 8 in Japan): the attack at Pearl Harbor, 'Oahu, Territory of Hawai'i, is perhaps the most memorable from our perspective but Japanese forces also made coordinated strikes at other American bases, as well as British bases, in the Pacific. On December 9, 1941, Japanese forces landed at Tarawa and Makin, in what were then called the Gilbert Islands, in Micronesia. In addition to the attack on Pearl Harbor, American forces on Wake Island (1,994 nautical miles west of Pearl Harbor) was also attacked by the Japanese on December 7/8. Wake Island was successfully defended until it was captured on December 23, 1941.Perhaps the brutality of the future war in the Pacific is suggested by the following words, dealing with the Japanese capture of Wake Island in December 1941:

"By midafternoon the Japanese had all their prisoners, more than sixteen hundred, herded onto the runway at the airfield [on Wake Island]…. The [Imperial Japanese] army officer was more than ready to kill them all. The [Imperial Japanese] admiral was not. He had the rank and he prevailed [stress added]." Gavan Daws, 1994, Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II in the Pacific (NY: William Morrow), pages 44-45. 

The cruise of the Pacific Princess departed Honolulu on May 27, 2005 and ended in Xingang, China, on June 24, 2005. We went to various locations (please see Figure 1): Midway Island, Majuro (Micronesia), Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands, Melanesia), Rabaul (New Britain, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia), Guam, Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, as well as Japan itself (Nagasaki). I am a firm believer in the following statement by Paul Fussell:

"The degree to which Americans register shock and extraordinary shame about the Hiroshima bomb [on August 6, 1945] correlates closely with lack of information about the Pacific war." Paul Fussell, 1988, Thank God For the Atomic Bomb And Other Essays (NY: Summit Books), page 25.

Numerous authors and individuals have their own interpretations of World War II: those who were active in combat have different views than those who did not go overseas; historians born long after the fact have a different view from those who participated in the war. Americans have a different perspective than the Japanese and many individuals tend to view their country as the most important country in the world. My own perspective comes from my thinking as an anthropologist, my background and training, and my year of birth (1942) in the United States of America. I have no recollection of any of the battles of World War II but I argue in all of my classes that World War II was the greatest cultural phenomenon to strike us to date and we are still living with the effects of World War II. I appreciate the following words of the author Clive Cussler in his fictional 1999 Atlantis Found: "To anyone born after 1980, World War Two must seem as distant as the Civil War was to our parents." (Atlantis Found, 1999, [2001 Berkley paperback], page 503.)

Political systems varied around the world and the environment that World War II battles were fought in were different (Pacific islands were certainly different from European landscapes), and technology came into play in all parts of the world. The triphibous actions in the air, on (and under the) sea, and on land were combined to defeat the Japanese. The Allies were successfully able to deal with the battles which took place over one-third of the globe. The "M" variables of men (meaning women and men), materials, and money were mentioned. These three variables should be combined with an additional set of variables that came into play by both Japanese and American forces (but the Americans and their allies were obviously more successful). Looking at the following helps me to interpret and understand World War II in the Pacific Theatre of Operations: Intelligence, attrition, production, and propaganda. Intelligence meant espionage and the Americans cracked the Japanese code for the Battle of Midway (June 1942), resulting in a major victory for the United States which was a turning point six months after Pearl Harbor. There were also numerous other successful military actions which were based on intercepted messages. Attrition included deaths: the Japanese were losing troops (especially skilled pilots) at an extremely high rate while the Allies (primarily the Americans) were increasing their number of troops. Production meant exactly what the word entails. America was able to obtain the raw materials to turn into an "Arsenal for Democracy" and had the logistic skills necessary to transport the vital supplies across the globe: first to the European Theatre of Operations and then simultaneously to Europe and the Pacific. Finally, propaganda played an important role for all combatants: the Japanese people were deceived by their leaders and deception was a part of the war on all fronts during World War II. It was a complex war but it can, to some extent, be understood.

"At Midway, the scoring punch of the Japanese Navy had been blunted [during the Battle of Midway, June 3-6, 1942]: four carriers and one cruiser were sunk, 5,000 Japanese had lost their lives, and 322 planes were lost. Worse, the pilots who were lost--many of whom had a thousand hours in combat experience over the skies of China, not to mention experience gained since then--were irreplaceable. American losses comprised ninety-nine carried-based aircraft, thirty-eight Midway-based planes, and the [Aircraft Carrier] Yorktown [stress added]." William A. Renzi and Mark D. Roehrs, 1991, Never Look Back: A History of World War II In The Pacific, page 76. 

"The road to Tokyo began on an island in the Pacific that few Americans had ever heard of and none of the military planners knew much about. But on Guadalcanal, one of the Solomon [Islands, Melanesia], the Japanese were building an air base from which to strike at American convoys to Australia. The island had to be taken, and quickly. The landing was America's first big amphibious assault. On August 7, 1942, some 10,000 Marines went ashore almost unopposed [stress added]." C.L. Sulzberger, 1966, The American Heritage History of World War II (NY: Simon & Schuster), page 232.

"And when he gets to Heaven,
To Saint Peter he will tell:
One more marine reporting, sir--
I've served my time in Hell.
(from a United States Marine's grave marker on Guadalcanal in C.L. Sulzberger, 1966, The American Heritage History of World War II (NY: Simon & Schuster), page 400.

"The distinction of being the first Japanese territory to be taken by the U.S. forces in the Pacific, or anywhere else, fell to Majuro Atoll, lying approximately seven degrees north of the Equator in the Micronesia group known as the Marshall Islands. Its capture constituted only a single phase, and a not-very-spectacular one, on an important and somewhat complicated operation [stress added]." Frank O. Hough, 1947, The Island War: the United States Marine Corps In The Pacific (J.B. Lippincott Company), page 184.

"Declared secure on November 27, 1944, Peleliu [Palau Islands, Micronesia] went down in history as one of the worst, and most needless, battles of the war. It got scant press in the United States during the first five weeks, for the dramatic advances in the European theater overshadowed events in the pacific. But the devastation in terms of human loses eventually drew attention to Peleliu, as did its dubious worth. Life magazine artist Tom Lea's haunting paintings dramatized the terror. Total marine and army casualties numbered 9,615 for Peleliu, Angaur and Ngesebus, including 1,656 dead. The Japanese lost 10,900, almost all killed (of some 202 prisoners taken, all but 19 were laborers). For each defender killed, the Americans used 1,589 rounds of ammunition [stress added]." Thomas W. Zeiler, 2004, Unconditional Defeat: Japan, America, And The End of World War II (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, Inc.), page 105.

[Saipan was] "...captured by U.S. forces, June 15-July 9, 1944, after which the Japanese government of Hideki Tojo [1884-1948]... fell. Saipan, the first of the Mariana Islands targets by the offensive of the Central Pacific Area (CENPAC)..., had been administered as a mandate... since World War I by Japan, which considered it Japanese home territory.... The invasion of Saipan began on June 15 under the overall direction of Admiral Raymond A. Spruance's... Fifth Fleet.... An amphibious invasion of the nearby island of Tinian...was launched from Saipan on July 24. Bombing raids originating in Saipan formed an important part of the strategic air campaign...against Japan [stress added]." Anne Sharp Well, 1999, Historical Dictionary of World War II: The War Against Japan (Lanham, MD: The Scarecrow Press, Inc.), pages 236-237..

"Of the 21,000 Japanese defending the island [of Iwo Jima in 1945], only 216 were taken prisoner. If this was the cost of taking an island of only eight square miles and which had been Japanese only since 1891, what would be the cost of the conquest of Japan?" E. Bauer, 1979, The History of World War II (NY: The Military Press), page 639.

"The casualties [on Okinawa] were the heaviest that any single island had cost the American forces. About 7,400 American died outright on the island, but the navy had lost perhaps 5,000 more men who were killed while offshore, mostly from Kamikazes. Japanese losses can only be estimated. About 107,000 were killed outright, while an additional 20,000 were sealed in caves to die of starvation, suffocation, or cremation if gasoline had been poured in after them. About 4,000 Japanese planes were lost, while the number of U.S. naval aircraft lost was 763, with no fewer than 458 falling in combat with Japanese aircraft [stress added]. William A. Renzi and Mark D. Roehrs, 1991, Never Look Back: A History of World War II In The Pacific, page 174.



"In Volume III of this series, The Rising Sun in the Pacific, we traced the process by which the [Imperial] Japanese Army obtained control of the government, dictated foreign policy, and maneuvered the country into war against the advice of wiser minds, including high-ranking officers of the Imperial navy. Once that irrevocable step was taken, national pride refused to admit any other end to the war than victory. The Japanese people were never told that their country was losing the war; even our capture of such key points as Saipan, Manila and Okinawa was explained as a strategic retirement [stress added]." Samuel Eliot Morison, 1960, Victory in the Pacific 1945 (History of United States Naval Operations in World War II, Volume XIV) (Boston: Little, Brown and Company), page 336.

The war was getting closer-and-closer to Japan and the results were, and would continue to be, horrific! On Iwo Jima in 1945, 17,232 United States Marines were wounded and 5,931 died. The war in the Pacific was beginning to "wind down" and instead of "island hopping" through the Pacific Ocean, it was more an "island isolation" campaign: some islands were invaded and captured and some islands were by-passed, leaving Japanese troops isolated (and with dwindling supplies) as the Allied forces moved closer to Japan. Okinawa was only 350 miles south of the Japanese island of Kyushu and the invasion of Okinawa (and the main Japanese Islands themselves) were being planned (and anticipated). The recapturing of the Philippine Islands by Allied Forces in the Southwest Pacific had been decided upon after a meeting at Pearl Harbor over the days of July 26-28, 1944: the American President Franklin D. Roosevelr (1882-1945) was there, along with Admirals Leahy (1875-1959) and Nimitz (1885-1966). In fall 1944, the Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized the invasion of the Philippine Islands and eventually the dates for the invasion of Japan was decided upon: in November 1945, the island of Kyushu would be attacked by more than 800,000 United States Army, Navy, and Marine personnel. In March 1946 the island of Honshu, location of the capital of Tokyo, would be invaded by an even larger force. (And see

The Normandy invasion in Europe, which began on June 6, 1944, resulted in some 42,000 Americans dying in the first days. It was estimated that there would be some 230,000 casualties in the November 1, 1945 invasion of the Japanese islands! The war in Europe had been successfully concluded by the Allied forces in May 1945 and the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt had died on April 12, 1945. His Vice President, Harry S Truman was quickly sworn in as the 33rd President of the United States of America and the war in Europe eventually came to a halt, with Germany surrendering on May 5, 1945 and "Victory in Europe" Day, or V-E day being celebrated on May 8, 1945: President Truman's 61st birthday. Plans were then implemented to move American troops to the Pacific Theatre of Operations:

"No sooner had the ink dried on the unconditional surrender document at Reims [Germany] in May 1945 than thirty American divisions, along with air corps and naval units, began rushing from Europe to join in Operation Downfall, the looming invasion of Japan. Douglas MacArthur [1880-1964] planned a two-step assault, the largest amphibious and airborn invasion that history had known. Downfall would begin with Operation Olympic--a frontal assault on Kyushu, the southernmost island, by nearly eight hundred thousand men--on November 1, 1945. The second phase, Operation Coronet--the landing by two million more troops on the largest island, Honshu--would follow on March 1, 1946 [stress added]." William B. Breuer, 1995, Feuding Allies: The Private Wars of the High Comman (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), page 302.

By August 1945 the war in the Pacific was winding down, but it was not yet over. Yes the Japanese were being defeated, but their eventual defeat would be tremendously expensive in terms of Allied and Japanese lives lost, both military and civilian. Millions would have died because the Japanese people were prepared to fight to the bitter end: kamikazee planes, suicide boats, 2,350,000 military personnel, 250,000 garrison troops, and 32,000,000 men and women in the militia were "pledged, even eager, to die for the emperor" (William B. Breuer, 1995, Feuding Allies: The Private Wars of the High Comman [John Wiley & Sons, Inc.], page 304.) Yes, the bomb had to be used:

"You think of the lives which would have been lost in an invasion of Japan's home islands--a staggering number of American lives but millions more of Japanese--and you thank God for the atomic bomb." William Manchester, 1979, Goodbye Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War (Little, Brown and Company), page 210.

William Manchester served in the Pacific Theatre of Operations and almost every individual who attended the lectures by Giles, Urbanowicz, and Wilson on the Pacific Princess in May and June of 2005 would agree with this statement! I will also argue that every World War II veteran who who attended the lectures on the Pacific Princess cruise would also agree with William Manchester's statement!

"On 1 June [1945] the President's Interim Committee, composed of high officials and top atomic scientists, recommended that the new bomb be used again Japan as soon as possible, without warning, and against a target that would reveal its 'devastating strength.' A well-considered alternative, to drop one bomb on a relatively uninhabited part of Japan, after due warning, in order to demonstrated the uselessness of further struggle, was rejected. It was feared that Japan would move in Allied P.O.W.s as 'guinea pigs'; and nobody could predict whether or not the bomb would work. If, after a warning, it proved a dud, the United States would be placed in a ridiculous position. And anyone who has followed our account of the senseless destruction and suffering inflicted by the kamikazes around Okinawa will appreciate the fact that compassion for Japan formed no factor in this decision [stress added]." Samuel Eliot Morison, 1960, Victory in the Pacific: 1945 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company), pages 339-340.

Barbaric acts in the war, by both Japanese and American combatants, were horrific. Japanese troops subjected American (and British and other) Prisoners of War to inhumane acts, including forced labor, imprisonment, decapitation, and the infamous "Bataan Death March" in April 1942 after the Japanese captured Luzon, Philippine Islands. On the other hand, after the American victory on Guadalcanal, Japanese graves were opened and skulls (and other items) were taken as souvenirs: Gavan Daws pointed this out in his authoritative 1994 Prisoners of the Japanese, writing about a picture in Life magazine:

"Arizona war worker writes her Navy boyfriend a thank-you note for the Jap skull he sent her. To the Japanese, who were scrupulous about the bones of their dead, that was the ultimate barbarism." Gavan Daws, 1994, Prisoners of the Japanese: POWs of World War II In The Pacific [NY: William Morrow], page 277.

From Banzai suicide charges across various Pacific locations (from the islands of Alaska to Guadalcanal and Okinawa) to the dropping of the "Little Boy" Uranium atomc bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and the the dropping of the "Fat Man" plutonium atomc bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, the war was brutal and horrific! Consider the words of President Harry S Truman (1884-1972) after the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima:

"Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. That bomb had more power than 20,000 tons of T.N.T....The Japanese began the war from the air at Pearl Harbor. They have been repaid many fold. And the end is not yet. With this bomb we have now added a new and revolutionary increase in destruction to supplement the growing power of our armed forces. In their present forms these bombs are now in production and even more powerful forms are in development....Both science and industry worked under the direction of the United States Army, which achieved a unique success in managing so diverse a problem in the advancement of knowledge in an amazingly short time. It is doubtful is such another combination could be got together in the world. What has been done is the greatest achievement of organized science in history. It was done under high pressure and without failure [stress added]." White House Press Release on Hirsoshima, August 6, 1945 as quoted in David C. Cassidy, 2005, J. Robert Oppenheimer and the American Century (NY: Pi Press), page 251. Cassidy is providing the quote from Robert C. Williams and Philip L. Cantelon [editors], 1984, The American Atom: A Documentary History of Nuclear Policies from The Discovery of Fission to the Present, 1939-1984. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press), pages 68-69.

On August 15, 1945, the people of Japan heard Emperor Hirohito's voice, via a recording, for the first time:

"To our good and loyal subjects....But now the war has lasted nearly four years. Despite the best that has been done by everyone...the war situation has developed not necessarily to Japan's advantage, while the general trends of the world have all turned against her interest....Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but would also lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are we to save the millions of our subjects, or to atone ourselves before the hallowed spirits of our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why we have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers. ...We cannot but express the deepest sense of regret to our Allied nations of East Asia, who have consistently cooperated with the Empire towards the emancipation of East Asia [stress added]." As it appears in William Craig, 1967, The Fall of Japan, NY: Dial Press, pages 210-211. (And see: for the translation and transcript of the recording made by the Federal Communications Commission, 14 August 1945.)

The Second World War was finally over and jubilation prevailed but there were celebrations that turned ugly. In 1967 William Craig published The Fall of Japan and one can read the following about Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, California:

"In the nation's capital, crowds milled around the White House and waited for [President Harry S] Truman to appear. He did so, and made a short speech to the masses lining the railings. They cheered his every sentence, then applauded him as he moved back inside to call his mother in Independence, Missouri. The exicited throngs spread to the downtown area and proceeded to lose their inhibitions. Soldiers jumped into passing cars to kiss unprotesting women. In front of the Washington Post newspaper bullding, a soldier and a girl got out of a taxi and started to take off their clothes, to the encouragement of an enthusiastic group of well-wishers shouting, 'Take it off!' 'All the way!' 'Atta girl!' The couple stripped completely, then dressed in each others clothes; the girl put on shorts, pants and shirt while the soldier struggled into bra, panties, slip and dress, to the applause of bystanders. Then the two exhibitionists jumped into the cab and were swallowed up in the dark.

Though few cities could claim such ardent demonstrations of joy, the pattern of behavior was similar in many places. That night the G. I. was king and he knew it. The police in most places tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. Their orders were to maintain some semblance of peace but to avoid excessive controls.

In San Francisco, more control was a desperately needed. In this city, surrounded by Navy installations, the news of surrender had come just before four o'clock in the afternoon. The navy immediately took over. Sailors got drunk and civilians joined them. By evening the celebration was out of hand.

Car after car was stolen and driven by crazed men who tore recklessly through the busy streets. Several people were struck down and killed while the motorists drove on, oblivious to the horror behind them. Young women found that being out among celebrating countrymen could be disastrous. People stood by horrified as at least six girls were forcibly thrown to the sidewalks, held down and repeatedly raped. No one moved to their aid. Policemen watching the assaults looked the other way, afraid to confront the liquor-sodden servicemen. Windows were smashed in the downtown shopping area, liquor stores were looted clean. A pedestrian walking down a side street was hit on the head by a basketful of bottles loosed from an upper-story window, and died of a fractured skull. Well into the morning hours, San Francisco continued in the grip of rioters who knew no authority. During the nightlong celebration of peace in that city, twelve people died [stress added]." William Craig, 1967, The Fall of Japan (NY: The Dial Press), pages 204-205.

Sixty years after Americans heard of Emperor Hirohito's broadcast in 1945 and thirty-eight years after William Craig published his book in 1967, on August 15, 2005, the San Francisco Chronicle published an article entitled "The dark side of V-J Day" which dealt with August 1945 events: "a victory riot that left 11 dead, 1,000 injured and the city's reputation besmirched" (Carl Nolte, 2005, August 15, pages B1 + B6, page B1). As James W. Loewen pointed out in his 1999 publication entitled What Our Historic Sites get Wrong: Lies Across America (NY: The New Press), pages 18 and 22), "All across America, the landscape suffers from amnesia, not about everything, but about many crucial events and issues of our past. ... If we cannot face our history honestly, we cannot learn from the past [stress added]." We can easily "forget" the past, unless we work at remembering it! I am an anthropologist and I truly believe that ideas of anthropology are important. I also believe that history is important: we need an understanding of where we came from to help us deal with the present as we move into the future. One cannot "predict" the future, only "invent" it but we desperately need a sense of history to understand where we might be going. As mentioned above, there were two other lecturers on the May-June 2005 Pacific Princess cruise, Professor Andy Giles and Admiral Edwin Wilson: at one lecture Admiral Wilson spoke of his youthful days in the Pacific Theatre of Operations and he made a statement similar to the published refrain of Andy Rooney (born in 1919 and who earned a Bronze Star for his actions in the European Theatre of Operations during World War II): "They were all my age. I think of the good life I have lived and they never had a chance to live. They didn't give their lives. Their lives were taken." Andy Rooney, 1995, 2000, My War (NY: Public Affairs), page xiii; and see page 311.)



"This book [and presentation and web paper] is dedicated to the memory of all the people of Japan who were killed by the firebombings, and to all the Americans who were killed in killing them. Both sides were victims of the same malady: Man's inability to refrain from the mass murder called war. If this book [or web paper and presentation] has any lasting value, it will be to remind its readers [and those in attendance at California State University, Chico on 1 September 2005] of the horrors that war in the twentieth-century wreaks on civilian populations [stress added]." Hotio Edoin, 1987, The Night Tokyo Burned (NY: St. Martin's Press), n.p.

On November 1, 1945, Operation Olympic, the invasion of the island of Kyushu was to begin. Several hundred thousand United States military personnel would have been involved and the casualties on both sides would have been horrific! Because of the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the planned invasion of the main islands of the Japanese Empire did not occur. In California, today is Thursday September 1, 2005 but it is "already tomorrow" September 2, 2005 across the International Dateline and it is, therefore, the 60th anniversary of the signing of the instrument-of-surrender on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay! In an interesting twist-of-fate (which would have implications decades later), on September 2, 1945 the Democratic Republic of Vietnam was established by Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969) and for another important September 1 date: on September 1, 1972 Charles F. Urbanowicz was offically awarded "the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with a major in Anthropology" from the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon!

"The official ceremony of Japan's surrender took place on board the American battleship, Missouri, on Sunday, 2 September [1945] - henceforth decreed by President Truman as VJ Day. ... The American flag flown by Commodore Perry when he entered Tokyo Bay in 1853 had been brought from a naval museum and now hung from a bulkhead overlooking the scene [stress added]." Tatsuichiro Akizuki, 1981, Nagasaki: The First full-length eyewitness account of the atomic bomb attack on Nagasaki [translated by Keiichi Nagata and Edited and with an introduction by Gordon Honeycombe) London: Quarter Books), page 130. And See [The University of Oklahoma Law Center} The Japanese Surrender Documents of World War II].  

"At 7:30 A.M., the Japanese [delegation] boarded the destroyer [Lansdowne], which headed out to the enormous bay for the sixteen-mile run to the Missouri. On every side they could see the truly awesome might of the American Navy, which had converged from all parts of the Pacific and now crowded Tokyo Bay. Attention centered on Admiral William Halsey's flagship. The choice of the Missouri as the surrender site had its origins in Washington and reflected the intense rivalry between Army and Navy. Though [Secretary of the Navy] James Forrestal had wanted Nimitz to conduct the ceremony, MacArthur as Supreme Commander got that assignment. The Navy Secretary then badgered [Secretary of State] James Byrnes into at least making a naval ship the setting for the drama. As an added lure, he suggested the one named for President Truman's home state. Thanks to this political horse trade back in America, Bull Halsey [1882-1959] was to be host to the ceremony. Whatever the reason, no more fitting choice could have been made [stress added]." William Craig, 1967, The Fall of Japan (NY: The Dial Press), page 300.

President Truman made the following announcement:

"As President of the United States, I proclaim Sunday, September 2, 1945, to be V-J Day, the day of the formal surrender of Japan. It is not yet the day for the formal proclamation of the end of the war nor of the cessation of hostilities, but it is a day of retribution as we remember that other day, the day of infamy [stress added]. [See:]

The War in the Pacific, and indeed, the war from 1931 through 1945, changed the world. The atomic age was upon us and on August 9, 2005 (the 60th Anniversary of the second atomic bomb being dropped on the inhabitants of Nagasaki), the San Francisco Chronicle had the following words from Pope John Paul II (1920-2005):

"A sculpture in the Hiroshima Peace museum carried a quote from Pope John Paul II that encapsulated the spirit of the city this month. 'To remember Hiroshima is to abhor nuclear war,' the pontiff said in Hiroshima in 1981. 'To remember Hiroshima is to commit oneself to peace [stress added].'" Kathleen E. McLaughlin, 2005, Survivors of bombings telling their stories now. San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2005, page A9.

On December 5, 1991, I made an Anthropology Forum presentation entitled Prelude to Pearl Harbor: Operation Hawai'i, dealing with the events that led up to December 7, 1941. With today's presentation on September 1, 2005, I have completed a project which began fourteen years ago. The Second World War lasted for many days and a single word that came to mind, when working on this paper (and lectures for the Pacific Princess) was horrific (or "causing horror"). May there never be a Third World War, or any war or act of terrorism, which would use nuclear weapons.



"Shortly after World War II had ended, American intelligence in the Pacific received a shocking report: The Japanese, just prior to their surrender, had developed and successfully test-fired an atomic bomb. The project had been housed in or near Konan (Japanese name for Hungnam), Korea, in the peninsula's North. The war had ended before the weapon could be used, and the plant where it had been made was now in Russian hands [stress added]." Robert K. Wilcox, 1985, Japan's Secret War (NY: William Morrow and Company, Inc.), page 15. 



"Still stinging with anger and sorrow, Asians on Sunday [August 14, 2005] marked the 60th anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender by honoring their dead, burning [Japan's] Rising Sun flags and demanding compensation over Japanese atrocities.... Japan invaded China in 1931. Its troops massacred as many as 300,000 people after taking the city of Nanjing in December 1937, and Japanese scientists performed germ warfare experiments on Chinese prisoners [stress added]." Hans Greimel, 2005, Asians remember Japan's surrender. The Sacramento Bee, August 15, 2005, page A6.

"Japan's leader apologized for Tokyo's wartime colonization and invasion today, a day after other Asian nations marked the 60th anniversary of the Japanese World War II surrender by honoring their dead and demanding compensation for their losses.... Protesters in Hong Kong Sunday [August 14, 2005] burned Japan's flag and marched on Tokyo's consulate chanting 'Down with Japanese imperialism.' In the Philippines, elderly women once forced to act as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers renewed demands for compensation and apologies. Former Australian prisoners of war returned to the Thai jungles where they laboured under brutal conditions to build the notorious Death Railway. China exhorted its citizens to remember Tokyo's surrender on Aug. 15, 1945, with 'a fresh wave of patriotism,' as state-run media whipped up memories of Japanese atrocities. The outpouring of emotion revealed the unhealed wounds six decades after Japan's Emperor Hirohito conceded defeat in a radio broadcast just days after the United States incinerated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs.... Bitterness runs especially deep in China. Riots erupted earlier this year over Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasakuni war shrine--which deifies Japan's war dead, including convicted war criminals--and over Tokyo's approval of history textbooks that critics say gloss over wartime atrocities [stress added]." Anon., 2005, New tensions, old memories haunt Asia on 60th anniversary of World War II surrender. The Chico Enterprise-Record, August 15, 2005, page 4B.

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REFERENCES CITED (in addition to the items referred to above, please see):

Charles F. Urbanowicz

in progress [Various Pacific References, including print and web-information. In addition to the references cited in this current paper, please consult this on-going item for numerous additional sources.]

2005a [Pacific Princess Itinerary K515} Selected Historical Dates for the 25-Day Islands of the Pacific Theater Cruise, Honolulu to Beijing, May 29->June 24.]

2005b [Tahiti: From 1971 To 2004/2005! For a presentation at the Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, on May 5, 2005.] [Please see this item for information about Tahiti and the lecturing on the Tahitian Princess in December 2004-January, 2005]

1991 [Prelude to Pearl Harbor: Operation Hawai'i. For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, December 5, 1991.]


FIGURE I: 29 May 2005 -> 24 June 2005

Figure II, from: Dudley McCarthy, 1959, South-West Pacific Area--First Year Kokoda to Wau (Canberra: Australian War Memorial), page 37.

Tokyo Bay, Japan, September 2, 1945.
Tokyo Bay, Japan, September 2, 1945.

Pacific Princess (27 May 2005 -> 24 June 2005).
Program Urbanowicz was involved with on the Pacific Princess in 2005 and the Tahitian Princess in 2004-2005.

Arrive and Depart the Pacific Princess.
Starboard Side, the Pacific Princess.
Pursers Area, the Pacific Princess.
Lecturing on the Pacific Princess in the Cabaret Lounge.
Buffet Area, Deck 9, Pacific Princess.
To the Club Restaurant, Deck 5, Pacific Princess.
Main course.

Midway Atoll sign.
Midway birds.
Battle of Midway (June 3-6, 1942) Monument.

To Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Multi-language Peace Sign, Majuro, Marshall Islands.
Alele Cultural Center (Archives-Library-Museum), Majuro, Marshall Islands.
Docked at Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Bloody Ridge, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
Guadalcanal American Memorial, Solomon Islands.

Volcanic greeting, Rabaul, New Britain, Papua New Guinea (11 June 2005).
Kokopo Museum Sign, New Britain, Papua New Guinea (11 June 2005).
Bitapaka War Cemetary, New Britain, Papua New Guinea (11 June 2005).

Guam Latte Park, June 15, 2005.
Arriving in Saipan (June 16, 2005), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, CNMI.
Memorial Ceremony on June 16, 2005 at American Memorial Park, Saipan.

Remains of Garapan Jail, Saipan.
On-board televised "distance" information.
Model of Tinian, Mariana Islands.

Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.
Okinawa, Japan, Museum Sign.
Memorial on Okinawa, Japan.
Nagasaki, Japan, Atomic Bomb Museum.
Nagasaki Peace Park.
Nagasaki Peace Statue: erected in 1955).
USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawai'i.
USS Missouri, Pearl Harbor.
Instrument of Surrender Location, USS Missouri.

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 (1) © [All Rights Reserved.] Placed on the World Wide Web on 1 September 2005, for a presentation (with visuals) at the Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, on September 1, 2005. My thanks to Ms. Debra Besnard and Mr. Stan Griffith and their "Digital Asset Management Project" in the Meriam Library at CSU, Chico and the work they did which allowed me to incorporate some historical visuals into the PowerPoint presentation this day. Please remember that "today" it is Thursday September 1, 2005, in the United States of America but across the International Dateline "today" is "tomorrow" and it is September 2, 2005: the 60th anniversary of the signing of the instrument of surrender on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945, which meant that World War II Ends! To return to the beginning of this paper, please click here.

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 [~8,837 words]

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1 September 2005 by cfu

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